USDA, DOJ Workshops to Explore Competition, Regulation in Agriculture Industry Beginning March 12th in Iowa

USDA Press Release No. 0081.10 Contact: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Communications Jim Brownlee 202-720-4623 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs Gina Talamona 202-514-2007 USDA AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WORKSHOPS TO EXPLORE COMPETITION AND REGULATORY ISSUES IN THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY TO BEGIN MARCH 12 IN IOWA Initial Workshop to be Held in Ankeny, Iowa, at Des Moines Area Community College, FFA Enrichment Center WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 - The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the agenda and panelists for the first joint public workshop, which will be held on March 12, 2010, in Ankeny, Iowa, to explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The workshop will be held at the Des Moines Area Community College's FFA Enrichment Center. The workshops, which were first announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder on Aug. 5, 2009, are the first joint USDA/Department of Justice workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals of the workshops are to promote dialogue among interested parties and foster learning with respect to the appropriate legal and economic analyses of these issues, as well as to listen to and learn from parties with experience in the agriculture sector. Attendance at the workshops is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in attending the initial workshop should register at https://go.dmacc.edu/ffa/agworkshop.

Vilsack and the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Christine Varney will participate in the workshop and will be joined by Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. They will participate in a roundtable discussion with presentations on current issues affecting farmers. Two panels focusing on the competitive dynamics in the seed industry and trends in contracting, transparency and buyer power will follow. The first day of the workshops will end with an enforcer roundtable and public testimony.

The workshop schedule follows:

Opening Remarks (9:00 a.m. CST – 9:15 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Roundtable Discussion and Presentation of Issues (9:15 a.m. CST – 11:30 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Tom Miller, Attorney General, State of Iowa

Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture, State of Iowa

Tom Harkin, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)

Chuck Grassley, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)

Leonard Boswell, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives (tentative)

Invited:

Chet Culver, Governor, State of Iowa

A farmer roundtable discussion and testimony will also be given at this time. Farmer panelists will be posted on the Web site at a later date.

Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel (1:00 p.m. CST – 2:15 p.m. CST)

Moderator:

James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Panelists:

Ray Gaesser, Soybean and Corn Farmer, Corning, Iowa; Vice President, American Soybean Association; Former President, Iowa Soybean Association

Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Member of the Iowa Bar

Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics and Finance, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University

Diana Moss, Vice President & Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute

Jim Tobin, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Monsanto Company

Agricultural Trends Panel (2:15 p.m. CST – 3:15 p.m. CST)

Moderator:

Phil Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Panelists:

Brian Buhr, Professor and Head of Department, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis

Mary Hendrickson, Extension Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri

John Lawrence, Professor of Economics, Iowa State University

Chuck Wirtz, pork producer, Whittemore, Iowa

Patrick Woodall, Research Director, Food & Water Watch

Enforcer Roundtable Discussion Panel (3:30 p.m. CST – 4:15 p.m. CST)

Moderator:

Mark Tobey, Special Counsel for State Relations and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Justice

Panelists:

Steve Bullock, Attorney General, State of Montana

Richard Cordray, Attorney General, State of Ohio

John Ferrell, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Stephen Obie, Director, Division of Enforcement, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

William Stallings, Assistant Section Chief, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Public Testimony (4:15 p.m. CST – 5:15 p.m. CST)

This is an opportunity for those in the audience to make comments in an open forum.

Additional updates and information will be posted on the Antitrust Division’s agriculture workshop Web site at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/index.htm. While no streaming Web cast will be available, transcripts will be available for review at a later date on the Antitrust Division’s Web site. Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov .

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